The former secretary of state sent a message to the Palestinian president to “play for time,” claiming Trump would not be in office much longer.
According to a report in Israel’s Maariv newspaper, John Kerry, secretary of state under former president Barak Obama, held a meeting with a confidante of Mahmoud Abbas named Hussein Agha, in which he encouraged the Palestinian leader to defy President Trump and his peace-making efforts in the region. Abbas, Kerry said, “should stay strong in his spirit and play for time.” Kerry warned Abbas “not [to] break” or “yield to President Trump’s demands.”
Kerry met in London with Agha, a long-time peace negotiator who has Abbas’ ear, and reportedly gave him tips on how to interact with the Americans. He asked that Abbas not attack the US in general or the Trump administration, but to focus on attacking Trump personally.
Kerry reportedly communicated this strategy because he believes that Trump is solely responsible for the almost total cessation of relations between the Palestinians and the Americans following the president’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
The report said that Kerry hinted to Agha that many in the American establishment are dissatisfied with Trump’s actions and leadership. Kerry also reportedly communicated that he didn’t expect the president to remain in office for much longer. However, there were no specifics given as to how Kerry thought this would come about.
Ordinarily, the only reasons a president does not finish a term is due to incapacitation, resignation or impeachment by Congress. None of these scenarios is currently in the offing.
Kerry, who tried hard to restart the peace process in 2013-2014 with fruitless negotiations that collapsed after nine months, reportedly offered to help create an alternative peace plan to the one being developed by President Trump’s team of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, notwithstanding the fact that the current administration’s plan has yet to be revealed.
Kerry also suggested that the Palestinians put forward their own peace plan, and promised that if they did, he would push it with all his might to everyone he knew to garner support for it in the international arena.
He also mentioned that he was seriously considering running for president in 2020. When asked about his advanced age (he would be 77), he said he was not much older than Trump (now 71) and would not have an age problem.
Kerry previously ran for president as the Democratic nominee in 2004, suffering defeat at the hands of George W. Bush, which gave the Republican a second term in office. The oldest person ever elected president was Ronald Reagan, who was elected for his second term at age 73.
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